Minneapolis drops case against lawyer who filmed Israel protest

The case against Jordan Kushner, a lawyer who filmed police arresting Palestine solidarity activists at the University of Minneapolis, has been dropped.

The city attorney’s office in Minneapolis dismissed the case on Friday citing “prosecutorial discretion.”

On 3 November 2015, Kushner was arrested at the University of Minnesota during a protest against visiting lecturer Moshe Halbertal, a law professor who helped draft the Israeli army’s “ethics code.” Two protesters were also arrested.

Though Kushner, a civil rights specialist, did not participate in the protest, he began filming the police once they started making arrests. The city had accused Kushner of disorderly conduct, trespassing and obstruction of the legal process.

Kushner told The Electronic Intifada that he would have preferred the prosecution to give another reason for dismissing its case against him, such as acknowledging his innocence.

“It makes me all the more conscious of the many people who have to face false and unjust criminal charges without all the weapons that I had,” he said.

Unusual zeal

City Attorney Susan Segal told local newspaper the Star Tribune that the misdemeanor charges were dropped to “allow my office to focus on higher priority matters.”

She claimed that “the evidence supports the charges brought by the University of Minnesota police,” adding “there has been no change in our opinion of the facts.”

Kushner said that Segal was “dishonest.” In his view, the case was dismissed “because it was clear that the allegations in the police reports were false,” he said.

Until the dismissal, the city attorney’s office had pursued its misdemeanor case against Kushner with unusual zeal, adding a second prosecutor to the case and conducting interviews more than a month after the incident.

As reported by The Electronic Intifada in February, the Israeli-government funded group StandWithUs had contacted Sarah Becker, the city prosecutor, urging her office to ensure that “the individuals responsible for the illegal disruptions are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

While the two protesters quickly reached settlements with the city, Kushner had refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing for filming the police.

This video, not filmed by Kushner, shows some of the protest.

At the end of March, prosecutors filed a motion for a gag order to prohibit attorneys from talking to the media during his trial.

The motion was was scheduled to be heard in a district court next month. An earlier request for a gag order had been turned down.

When the prosecutors filed for a gag order, Kushner told the Star Tribune, “They don’t want exposure of this unjust and politically motivated prosecution.”




Cowardly pawns of Zionism, how contemptible. As Mr Kushner says "“They don’t want exposure of this unjust and politically motivated prosecution.”

Charlotte Silver

Charlotte Silver's picture

Charlotte Silver is an independent journalist and regular writer for The Electronic Intifada. She is based in Oakland, California and has reported from Palestine since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @CharESilver.